Matt Peiken

Arts Producer

Matt Peiken, BPR’s first full-time arts journalist, has spent his entire career covering arts and culture.

He spent ten years at the St. Paul Pioneer Press in Minnesota writing profiles, opinion columns, and trend stories on visual, literary and performing arts. At WCPO Television in Cincinnati, Ohio, he produced videos and created podcasts for WCPO.com about area artists and cultural events.  Returning to Minnesota, he created an independent online arts television series, 3-Minute Egg, which he expanded into a weekly broadcast series on Twin Cities Public Television.  

Matt has served as a regional editor for Patch.com, part of a national network of hyperlocal news sites. He was also the Managing Editor of the Walker Magazine, the bimonthly publication of the Walker Arts Center in Minneapolis.

Matt says he was drawn to Blue Ridge Public Radio and Asheville for the opportunity to produce public radio journalism in a region that is renowned for its creative community. He’s especially interested in forming partnerships across Western North Carolina that shine a light on regional artists for new audiences. He received his Bachelor of Arts in journalism at California State University – Fresno, and was the recipient of a National Arts Journalism Program Fellowship and a Poynter Institute Fellowship.

Ways to Connect

Murphy Funkhouser Capps begins writing her plays by living her life.

That’s why it’s impossible to separate the writer and performer from the teenage runaway, the former solo parent, the woman whose husband is battling bone cancer.

The Altamont Theatre is one of Asheville’s most celebrated music venues, and the people who own it say they’re being forced to close at the end of this year.

The original owners of the Altamont, husband-and-wife Brian and Tiffany Lee, still own the brick building housing the theater on Church Street. That building also features two floors of condos above the theater.

Ann Dunn has spent her entire life in motion -- by necessity, force of will, restlessness and, through it all, a curiosity that refuses to sit still.

At age 71, Dunn has so many active elements in her life: She has a fulltime teaching schedule at UNC-Asheville. She’s working on her fourth book of poetry. Every summer, she dives into culturally immersive travels the world over, and she’s eager to share what she sees and learns both in her classroom, with her 11 grandchildren and anyone she has time to sit with.

 

 If you want people to hear some new songs you’ve written, there’s an open-mike around Asheville almost any night of the week. But for songwriters who want to put a little more on the line, the One Stop hosts a songwriting competition every Wednesday night throughout the fall.

 

Music directors and orchestras often stick together about as long as coaches last with professional football teams. But on Saturday, the Hendersonville Symphony Orchestra launches its 20th season under the baton of Thomas Joiner. This is the story of a marriage that works.

 

Daniel Nevins has painted for nearly 30 years, but if you want to trace his influences, he will point you to the Beatles and the psychedelia of the '60s and '70s. His work was already selling around the world when he moved to Asheville almost 20 years ago. His paintings now grace 30 album covers and even an illustrated version of the Old Testament.

Different Strokes is an Asheville theater company with a mission to "change the world one play at a time." Still, Stephanie Hickling-Beckman, the founding director of Different Strokes, couldn't have known the company's production of "Best of Enemies" would come on the vapors of the racially charged events of Charlottesville, Virginia.

Matt Peiken | BPR

Jeremy Phillips teaches religion and humanities at Haywood Community College and UNC-Asheville, and he connects that academic work to his visual art. Jeremy sees both as exploring the unresolvable.

 

Matt Peiken | BPR

Thousands from throughout the U.S. and beyond descended upon Andrews, N.C., in their shared quest for optimal viewing of the 2017 solar eclipse. Blue Ridge Public Radio producer Matt Peiken was there, as well. He met with many of the devoted eclipse chasers, leading up to the moment of "wow."